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Learn Easy Ways to Correct Mistakes in Watercolour


Rosemary Hale - Posted on 17 May 2012

There are several reasons why we may want to remove paint from our pictures:
  • To rectify errors.
  • To be creative, as some interesting effects can be achieved.
  • To adjust the relationship of light and dark between features.
This relationship is called tonal contrast and it is a most important part of creating realistic images.

Lifting paint off a picture is not without risk and, if done carelessly, may even spoil the look of your watercolour. In my work I will always weigh up the pros and cons before removing paint.
Sometimes, though, it is the only option and it’s useful to become familiar with the techniques available to us.

Methods for lifting colour away

Most commonly, a brush, sponge or tissue is used on wet, damp or dry paint.
Paint will always lift off the paper more easily if it is still wet or damp. It is, however, possible to remove dry colour by using moisture and pressure to agitate and mobilise the paint.

‘Thirsty’ brush

It is possible to lift colour from small and even awkwardly shaped areas with a brush:

A 1⁄2in. flat brush is used to remove damp colour and create a light effect, as seen when the breeze disturbs the surface of a lake:
1. Rinse the brush clean then semi-dry it on tissue.
2. It is now a ‘thirsty’ brush, which will suck colour away as it’s moved horizontally across the paper. (I am lefthanded so the brush is moving from left to right in the example, above.)
3. This may need to be repeated, depending on how much colour comes away. If so, the brush should be rinsed in clean water and excess moisture removed again.

A small Round brush is used to remove dry colour to create the shape of a small building in the landscape:

1. Using a clean brush, wet the required shape.
2. Gently agitate the paint by pressing and moving the brush into the paper.
3. Clean and dry the brush then use it to suck the fluid off the paper.

4. Press a flat piece of clean tissue onto the area then gently peel it away to remove the colour.

5. The finished shape is now ready to be painted.

Before addition of building

After addition of building

The full article by Rosemary, can be found in the July 2012 issue of Leisure Painter and covers the use of a sponge for making corrections and methods for lifting out colour.
Rosemary also offers advice on the pitfalls of correcting your watercolour paintings, and how to avoid them with some top tips.

Buy your copy using this exclusive code LPRH07 for free UK p&p before June 30th 2012

(discounted for overseas customers)

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